Hotel Harmand - Hospital No. 3

Source of information: Kaletzki, Charles Hirsch. Official history USA Base Hospital No. 31 of Youngstown, Ohio: And Unit G of Syracuse University. Syracuse, NY, Craftsman Press, 1919.

Hotel Harmand, situated opposite the Souveraine and outside the park, was four stories high, of brick and sandstone construction. An annex in the rear was three stories high above a cave built into the hill, which formed three walls. But little of the main floor was available, the owners retaining more than half. The remainder consisted of lobby and four small rooms, two of which faced the street. The upper floors were divided by a narrow corridor, and the rooms were small, though regular. They were well lighted and ventilated. The same conditions existed on the two upper floors of the annex, on the first floor of which were the large dining room and kitchen which served the hotel. [Kaletzki, p. 34]

Because of many advantages to be derived from joint effort in a central laboratory such an institution was opened to serve the needs of Base Hospitals No. 31 and 32. The recommendation of Colonel J, F. ·siler, Director of Laboratories and Infectious Diseases, favored the establishment of a central institution to be created by the pooling of all equipment and laboratory staff. He also recommended the establishment of a number of smaller subsidiary laboratories in the wards of the two hospitals, for the handling of clinical pathology. The fact that the two hospitals occupied thirteen somewhat widely separated buildings necessitated some such arrangement. [Kaletzki, p. 48]

Seven rooms on the second floor of the Harmand Hotel, Building No. 3, were selected as being the most central available location. Work tables, cabinets, an incubator room and other required facilities were built. Appropriate plumbing was installed, making the laboratory as modern as war conditions permitted. A storeroom, animal house and cold room were established outside the main suite. A common mortuary was arranged in the basement of the annex to the Hotel Harmand. [Kaletzki, p. 49]

Six subsidiary laboratories were established in the following hotels respectively: the Cosmopolitan, the Providence, the Royal, the Martin Aine, the Continental and the Harmand. Enlisted men were trained to do clinical pathology. These men were selected from medical students, pharmacists and prospective medical students. [Kaletzi, p. 159]

Hotel Harmand, Contrexeville, France

Hotel Harmand (image captured from eBay)

Hotel Harmand, Contrexeville, France

Hotel Harmand (image captured from eBay)

Hotel Harmand, Contrexeville, France

Hotel Harmand (image from the National Library of Medicine)

Postcard - from Simon Jeannean to his wife, Blance, Hotel Harmand, Contrexeville

Postcard of Hotel Harmand (image from the Postcard Album of Simon Jeanjean, presented online at by the Université de Limoges)

message written from the Hotel Harmand in January 1916

Simon Jeanjean's message to his wife, written January 1916, while he was a patient in a French-administered military hospital at Contrexeville.

Postcard of Simon Jeanjean

Contrexeville 29 janvier [1916]
Ma chère Blanchette,
Un petit mot pour te donner de mes nouvelles. Cela va toujours à peu près. J'ai reçu ces jours-ci une lettre qui m'a très agréablement surpris de la part de la maison Tourniéroux qui m'envoyait 10 frs. Cela tombait comme mars en carême car je n'étais plus guère riche. Je leur réponds par ce même courrier pour les remercier.A part cela pas grand-chose. Je crois que d'ici une quinzaine j'aurai le bonheur de venir vous embrasser. Car ici aussitôt guéri on vous expédie, on ne garde pas si longtemps que dans les hôpitaux de l'intérieur.Sans autre embrasse bien ma poupée chérie pour mois, je t'embrasse de tout coeur.
Ton mari qui t'aime.
NB. La flèche indique la fenêtre au premier étage de la chambre que j'occupe.

---- English translation ---

My dear Blanchette,

Just a quick note to update you. Everything's going fine, more or less. I recently received a letter from the Tournieroux house that pleasantly surprised me with 10 francs. It came just in time because I didn't have much money. I responded to thank them with this letter. Other than that, not much. I believe in 15 days I'll have the pleasure of coming to embrace you. Because here as soon as you are healed they send you off, they don't keep you as long as in the inside hospitals. Without any other embrace my dear doll for months, I embrace you with all my heart.

Your husband who loves you.


Note. The arrow indicates the window of the room that I'm staying in on the first floor.

The album of Postcards of Simon Jeanjean is a poignant view of the war from a soldier's point of view. The album is presented online by the Université de Limoges and can be accessed at this link:

Alternatively, for an imperfect English translation of the site (by Google Translation), see this link: